Friday, March 31, 2006

Roasted Celery Root, Parsnip, Carrot and Fennel

This vegetable roast marked a couple of firsts for me - my first taste of fresh fennel and of celery root. I love carrots and parsnips, but I had ambitiously purchased a lovely organic fennel bulb and celery root that I was dying to try, yet had no idea how to prepare. I searched online for recipes, most of which were soup recipes, or gratin recipes that called for heavy cream. I really just wanted to taste the purity of each vegetable, so I went ahead and tried them raw (yay celery root, boo fennel - a lil strong for me) and decided to roast them, hoping it would turn out. Obviously, this would be must tastier with 3 times as much oil and a good bit of Parmigiano Reggiano, but my reality being what it is, this was good, tasty, and low cal.

Roasted Celery Root, Parsnip, Carrot and Fennel

1 sm. Celery Root (80)
1 med. Parsnip (59)
3 med. Carrots (106)
1 med. Fennel bulb (84)
1 TB + 1 tsp. olive oil (160)
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Peel and cut root vegetables into 1/2-inch pieces. Remove the top portion (making sure to reserve enough fronds to garnish) and the tough outer layer of the fennel bulb; cut into 1/4-inch wedges.

Toss the root vegetables on a cookie sheet with 1 tablespoon olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Bake for 15 minutes. Remove the cookie sheet and toss the fennel in with the root vegetables and 1 tsp. olive oil. Continue baking for 45 minutes, or until the vegetables are golden and tender. Toss with chopped fennel fronds and serve while warm.

Makes 4 servings, 122.25 calories per serving.

Fast Italian Chicken Pasta

This is just one of those somewhat uninspired meals.. for the night when you don't feel like cooking, but don't want to resort to a drive-thru or box meal, either. Don't get me wrong, it tastes good, but it's on a line with things that are common enough for a regular cook not to need a recipe.

Italian Chicken Pasta

5 oz. egg noodles, prepared (525)

Ground Chicken
1/2 med. onion, chopped (30)
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes (1.5)
1 clove garlic, julienned (4)
1 tsp. olive oil (40)
1 lb. lean ground chicken (600)
1 TB. fresh parsley, chopped (3)
1 tsp. paprika (6)
salt and pepper

In a nonstick pan, saute the onion and red pepper flakes in the olive oil just until translucent; add the garlic and continue sauteing for 1 minute. Crumble the ground chicken into the pan and sprinkle on 1 tablespoon of parsley, 1 teaspoon paprika, and salt and pepper to taste. Brown the meat until just cooked through; remove from pan and continue on to sauce.

2 TB. tomato paste (30)
1 c. chicken stock (15)
1 tsp. dry basil (2)
2 tsp. fresh thyme leaves (2)
1 TB. fresh parsley, chopped (3)
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce (4)
salt and pepper

In the same pan, combine all ingredients and bring to a boil. Stir in the ground chicken mixture and let simmer for a minute or two. Add the pasta and combine.

Makes 4 servings, about 316.5 calories per serving.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Pasta with Peppers and Asparagus in Balsamic Butter Sauce

I'm the queen of over-reducing pan sauces, but I've finally made one that I'm proud of, though I can't claim much credit, as Balsamic vinegar is just another one of those magical ingredients that perks up just about anything it touches - sweet or savory.

Earlier tonight, my mom and sister came over, and I decided to cook dinner. I made Tilapia with Tomatillo Salsa, vine tomatoes with salt and parsley, and french green beans in the style of Elise's Perfect Asparagus (minus the parmesan), it was lovely and light, and I didn't even bother to count the calories because it didn't come near my 500 calorie limit, which is probably why I was ravenous at 11 pm. The asparagus got a little over-powered by the vinegar and the peppers, but it was still absolutely heavenly.

Pasta with Peppers and Asparagus in Balsamic Butter Sauce

110 grams (4 oz) salad macaroni, prepared (420)
1/4 recipe Marinated Bell Peppers, chopped (60)
14 stalks asparagus, about 170g. (34)
1/2 med. onion, about 50g. (21)
20-25 small cocktail onions, about 50g. (20)
1 large clove garlic, julienned (10)
zest of 1 lemon
1 tsp. olive oil (40)
1 TB. butter (100)
3 TB. balsamic vinegar (30)
salt and pepper

Chop asparagus into 1/2-inch rounds, making sure to set the tips aside; place rounds in zip-top bag and microwave for 1 minute. Saute the onions (both types) in 1 tsp. olive oil for about 4 minutes; add the peppers and continue sauteing for another 3 minutes; add the garlic and asparagus tips and salt and pepper to taste; saute for 1 minute. Remove vegetables from pan and add 3 TB. balsamic vinegar; simmer for 45 seconds (don't reduce the vinegar too much, it gets too sweet) then add the butter, lemon zest, parsley, and salt and pepper; remove from heat and swirl until butter is melted. Toss the vegetables and pasta with the sauce and serve.

Makes two servings, about 368 calories per serving.

Marinated Bell Peppers

Marinated Bell Peppers

1 each: red, yellow and orange bell pepper (20 cal ea)
1/2 c. balsamic vinegar - only 1/4 cup will be consumed (40)
1 Tbsp. olive oil (120)
3 large cloves garlic, minced (20)
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper

Combine marinade ingredients. Slice peppers 1/4 - 1/2 inch thick and toss in marinade. Put in food storage bags and marinate in the fridge, turning every time you open the fridge, within reason. Will last up to a week. You can grill, saute, stir fry, or just add them to salads, they're really tasty.

Makes 6 servings, each about 40 calories.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Utah Food Bloggers Dinner: Mascerated Berries with Vanilla Mascarpone

What a fun night! I joined Vanessa from She Craves and Kalyn from Kalyn's Kitchen for a Utah Food Bloggers dinner, hosted by Kalyn, who made a lovely dinner, whilst Vanessa brought wine and flowers, and I brought dessert. We had a lot to talk about (everything under the sun, really) and I couldn't have been in better company. Kalyn is lovely (and skinny!), and very warm and welcoming. Vanessa is gorgeous and has a wicked sense of humor. Actually, all the words I just used to describe these two women apply to both of them.

Kalyn's dinner was just so damned good. She prepared:

Curried Chicken on the Grill, with cilantro chutney
A perfect chicken recipe, it was awesome with the cilantro chutney.

Perfect Asparagus
The name doesn't lie.

Brown and Wild Rice with Pine Nuts
So good!

Arugula and Sweet Mini-Pepper Salad
I hadn't had these mini-peppers, but I'm a convert and will pick some up this week.

She has the recipes linked in her post about the dinner here.

I didn't know what I should bring - I have no clue when it comes to wine or cheese or, well, stuff to bring - so we decided on my bringing a dessert. I chose to bring Mascerated Berries, but wanted to dress them up a little, so I added lemon juice to the recipe, and used sugar instead of splenda. To top off the berries, I made a Vanilla Mascarpone, which is really very simple:

Image courtesy Kalyn.

Mascerated Berries with Vanilla Mascarpone

Mascerated Berries
1 package fresh blueberries, washed
1 package fresh raspberries
1 package fresh strawberries, washed and sliced
2 tsp. sugar
1 vanilla bean
2 Tbsp. Vanilla Vodka
1/2 lemon
Seed the vanilla bean and add to a small bowl; pour the vanilla vodka over the seeds and stir to break them up and mobilize them. In a medium bowl, combine strawberries, sugar, vanilla vodka, and the juice of 1/2 lemon. Refrigerate, and add the rest of the berries before serving. If serving right away, gently add the blueberries and raspberries, making sure not to break them up.

Vanilla Mascarpone
1 container Mascarpone cheese
2 vanilla beans, seeded
1 1/2 tsp. honey

In a small bowl, combine the three ingredients. Keep refrigerated.

All-in-all, I couldn't have been more impressed with the dinner or with these two fabulous women. There's nothing like being with strong, intelligent, funny people (women, especially) to make you feel like the world may not be in as much trouble as you'd imagined.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

WHB25: Vanilla - Beans and Extract

So, here's my first post dedicated to Weekend Herb Blogging. I've been meaning to participate for a while, now, and I'm finally getting around to it.

This may or may not sound weird, but I am passionate about vanilla. It's just one of those ingredients that rounds out every recipe it goes into and can kick any dessert into high-gear. I've never been bold enough to try it on fish, or other savory dishes, but I'm working my way toward it.

Making vanilla extract is very simple, and worth it. Get yourself a bottle of vodka, split several (5 or 6) vanilla beans down the center (I scrape out the seeds and use them in other dishes) and slip the beans into the bottle. Let your bottle sit for a few months, shaking every so often, and you've got real vanilla extract. Early on in the process, it makes a great vanilla vodka, but after a week, or so, it's too strong for drinking. I top mine off with more vodka when I notice that I'm making a dent in the bottle, so I've always got a full bottle, and it just gets better and better with time.

Pour a little over fresh berries with a sprinkling of sugar, it's lovely.

Tilapia with Corn and Greens

Last night, I only had about 20 minutes to prepare dinner and eat before we had to be somewhere. I hadn't had anything planned, aside from having thawed tilipa fillets in the fridge, so this was one of those throw-together meals. There are a couple of things I would change, but, for the most part, this was yummy, and only took 10 minutes from start to finish.

Tilapia with Corn and Greens
2 5-oz tilapia fillets (137.5 ea)
3 TB. dried cranberries (97.5)
1 1/3 c. frozen corn (defrosted, if you have time, I didn't) (200)
2 tsp. olive oil (80)
3 cups assorted greens (70 calories, about)
1/4 c. fresh dill (1)
2 tsp. balsamic vinegar (6)
salt and pepper

Heat the olive oil over medium heat. Season tilapia fillets with salt and pepper, then brown in the oil just until fish is done (3-4 minutes per side). Remove fish from pan to rest; and add the corn and cranberries and warm through. Toss in the greens and dill; drizzle the balsamic over the mixture. Cook for about 1 minute, or until the greens are just wilted. Serve fish with half the greens and a lemon wedge.

Makes 2 servings, 364.75 calories per serving.

There are a couple of things I would change the next time I make this:
1. I wouldn't use bitter greens - they just get more bitter. Spinach would work great.
2. I would try replacing the cranberries (also bitter) with chopped apricots or apples.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Recipe on the fly: Banana Blueberry Bread

I wanted to make a banana bread that didn't have much fat and had a lot of fiber, so I took my gramma's basic banana bread recipe and then kind of just threw everything in the pantry into it. For a bread that's full of oats and fiber, this was surprisingly moist:

Banana Blueberry Bread

1 c. all purpose flour (400)
1/2 + 1/8 c. whole wheat flour (250)
3/4 c. Grape Nuts cereal (300)
1/2 c. quick cooking rolled oats (150)
1/4 cup ground golden flax seed (160)
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. baking powder (1.25)
1/3 tsp. salt
1/4 c. chopped walnuts (196.25)
1 cup fresh blueberries (frozen would work, too) (83)

3/4 c. unsweetened applesauce (75)
1 c. splenda (96)
1 XL egg + 2 egg whites (125)
3 bananas, two mashed, the other mashed, but left chunky, about 1.5 cups (300)
1 tsp. vanilla extract (12)

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Combine dry ingredients, toss blueberries and walnuts so they get coated in flour. In a separate bowl, Combine splenda and applesauce, whisk in the eggs and vanilla, then stir in the banana.

Add the dry mixture to the wet mixture and stir, just until combined and
moistened. Pour (more like dump) the batter into a 9x5 inch silicone loaf pan.

Bake for 65 minutes. Remove from oven and cool for 10 minutes before removing from pan and cooling on a wire rack.

Makes (12) servings, 179 calories and 4 grams of fiber per slice.

*This was pretty sweet, it could use a 1/4 cup less splenda, honey would be a good option, too, but it's got calories that splenda doesn't. We loved this, I was glad it didn't have an overwhelming healthful flavor.

*Next time, I'll probably throw in an extra 1/4 cup of flax seed and another egg white.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Erin Mimics: Chilled Yogurt and Cucumber Soup

A little while back, Kate at Accidental Hedonist posted this Chilled Yogurt and Cucumber Soup recipe. I was intrigued, mainly because I love yogurt, and since I've been on this new eating plan, I have been eating more yogurt than I ever have before. I was skeptical, but decided to try it anyway, and I'm glad I did, it's fantastic and easy.

*My husband didn't like the soup, he said it was, "Just a little too.. different.." for him, so I guess it's not for everyone.

Chilled Yogurt and Cucumber Soup
-- Recipe copied from Kate @ Accidental Hedonist

1/2 cup golden raisins (260)
2 cups unflavored yogurt (300)
1/2 cup half & half (140)
1 cup ice water
1 medium cucumber, peeled, seeded and diced (17)
4 scallions, chopped (10)
Salt and (white) pepper, to taste (I used black pepper)
6 ice cubes, about 4oz
fresh dill, chopped (I didn't have dill)

In a small bowl, place the raisins and cover with cold water. Allow to set for 5 minutes.

Place the yogurt in a large mixing bowl. Add the half & half and ice water and stir in slowly but thoroughly.

Drain the raisins. Add them to the yogurt along with the walnuts, cucumbers and scallions. Flavor with the salt and pepper.

Stir in the ice cubes. Cover with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator at least 3 hours but preferably overnight.

Serve in the bowl and sprinkle the freshly chopped dill on top.

Makes about 5.5 cups, 154.5 calories per cup.

I served this with 4 Ham and Cucumber Rolls, for a total of 409.5 calories.

Ham and Cucumber rolls

These are great for an appetizer or snack, or to go along with a cold soup like gazpacho. Don't worry about spreading the cream cheese all over, just work in a line in the center, otherwise you'll tear the ham.

Ham and Cucumber Rolls

Thin-sliced ham, about 20 g. per slice - (26.25)
cream cheese - (35)
cucumber, cut into matchsticks, about 20g. per roll - (2.5)
salt and pepper to taste

Spread each slice of ham with 2 tsp. cream cheese. Line 4 cucumber sticks in the middle, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and roll.

63.75 calories per roll.

* This recipe is for full-fat cream cheese. We actually used nonfat cream cheese (an accidental buy, I don't compromise with my cream cheese, heh) in this recipe, which was a huge mistake.. ick! I really don't recommend it, it tastes horrible.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Lower Calorie Avocado Dip

A lot of us, when dieting or when changing our lifestyle habits, cut out too much fat, and end up eating a really high ratio of carbohydrates and proteins to fats. I'm totally guilty of this, so here's a good, easy way I get in some healthy fats without going overboard.

Lower Calorie Avocado Dip
2 Haas Avocados, about 272 grams when removed from skin (435.2 calories)
juice of 1 lemon, about 1/4 cup (12 calories)
2 TB rough chopped parsley (1 calorie)
1 clove garlic (4 calories)
20 drops tabasco (0 calories)

Remove avocado flesh from skin, cut into chunks with fork, mashing about half of the avocado. Add the rest of the ingredients, making sure not to over-mash the avocado, unless you like your avocado smooth.

Makes 4 servings, 113 calories per serving.

I serve this with 1 serving of baked corn chips, for a total of 253 calories.

Don't get me wrong, I love my guacamole, with loads of tomatoes and onion and sour cream and cheese, but I was trying to come up with something that was full of healthy fats and not heavy enough in calories to be counted as a meal.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Seafood Stew with Saffron, Fennel Seed, and Lemon

I bought a new stock pot from, and it arrived on Tuesday, so I had to use it on Wednesday, right? It's a great pot, I'm way, way happy with it, and it only cost me $29.99, when the pot was originally $110. Thanks to Simply Recipes for the link.

Here's my first seafood stew recipe, though I'm not very experienced with cooking seafood, this turned out great. The ingredient list is a little awkward, but I wanted to list the items in order of use.

Seafood Stew with Saffron, Fennel Seed, and Lemon

2 tsp. olive oil (80 calories)
144g. onion (1 small), chopped fine (60.5 calories)
216g. carrots (4 small, sliced into 1/4 inch rounds) (72 calories)
120g. celery (2 large ribs, sliced into 1/4 inch slices) (17 calories)
1/8 tsp. red pepper flakes
1/8 tsp. ground black pepper
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. fennel seed (ground to dust, using 1/4 tsp salt as an abrasive)
7g. garlic (about 2 cloves), chopped fine (10.5 calories)
zest of 1 lemon (about 2 tsp) (2 calories)
1/2 tsp. saffron (1 calorie)
juice of 1 lemon (about 3 Tbsp.)(12 calories)
2 cups chicken broth (30 calories)
1 quart cups canned tomatoes (210 calories)
1 185g. salmon fillet, cubed (320 calories)
1 60g. tilapia fillet, cubed (53 calories)
400g. shrimp, peeled and de-veined (423.5 calories)
1/4 c. rough chopped parsley (5.5 calories)

2 tsp. olive oil
144g. onion (1 small), chopped fine
216g. carrots (4 small, sliced into 1/4 inch rounds)
120g. celery (2 large ribs, sliced into 1/4 inch slices)
1/8 tsp. red pepper flakes
1/8 tsp. ground black pepper
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. fennel seed (ground to dust, using 1/4 tsp salt as an abrasive)

Sauté for 10-15 minutes, or until onions are translucent. Add:

7g. garlic (about 2 cloves), chopped fine
zest of 1 lemon (about 2 tsp)
1/2 tsp. saffron

Sauté for a minute, making sure not to burn the garlic. Add:

juice of 1 lemon (about 3 Tbsp.)
2 cups chicken broth
1 quart cups canned tomatoes

Keep on a low simmer until carrots are as tender as you like them. Add:

1 185g. salmon fillet, cubed
1 60g. tilapia fillet, cubed
400g. shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/4 c. rough chopped parsley

Cover and let simmer for 2-3 minutes, or until the seafood is just cooked.

Serve with a lemon wedge and a piece of crusty bread.

Makes about (6) 1.5 cup serving = 204 calories per serving (370 calories with a 60g. piece of french bread).

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Lexi's Swedish Meatballs

I posted Swedish Meatballs (from a seasoning packet, the shame!) a while back, and Lexi commented about how she was Swedish, and she could show me a real recipe for meatballs that didn't include seasoning packets. She posted her recipe, and I've finally gotten around to making them. I had to adjust several things to make them fit within my 500 calorie meal guideline, but they turned out WAY better than the others made with the seasoning packet (obviously). I screwed up and put the soy sauce in the sauce rather than in the meat... so yeah, but it was still delicious. The mixture of pork and beef made for a really moist meatball. Hell, I don't even know why I've been making meatballs, lately, I never have liked them, but this is one recipe that I really love.

My bastardized version of Lexi's Meatballs
.65 lb (303 g.) 4% ground beef (402 calories)
.5 lb (237 g.) ground pork (450 calories)
1/4 cup ground oats (3/8 cup oats, before grinding) (112.5 calories)
2 TB skim milk (11.5 calories)
1/2 extra large egg white (10 calories)
3/4 large onion, 139g (58.5 calories)
3 cloves garlic (20g = 29 calories)
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
2 tsp. olive oil (1 tsp for frying meatballs in nonstick pan, 1 tsp for sauteeing onions) (80 calories)

4 servings, 288.5 calories per serving.

Lexi's directions:

"Start with putting the grain in a large bowl. Mix in the starch and then soak it in the cream. Let it sit and swell for atleast 10 minutes. While the grain swells, chop the onions and garlic and fry it gently to just soften it up, don't let it get any colour. Mix all ingredients in the grain once it's done swelling, try not to mix too long and the best tools.. are your hands...
Once mixed choose cooking style. Either you fry eveyrhting in a pan or in the oven. the oven is easier for larger bashes but the pan gives them a better colour. If you choose the oven (like I did for this huuuuuge batch) put it on 275 degrees celcius (527 F). Roll consistant size of the balls. If you choose small ones make sure they are all small so they have the same cooking time. If you can't do that by hand, use a measurement like for instant a tablespoon."

1 Tbsp butter (100 calories) (I only used 1 Tbsp because I had fat left in the pan)
3 Tbsp flour (65.5 calories)
2 cups stock (30 calories)
2 Tbsp (half and half) (35 calories)
1 Tbsp. soy (oops) (10 calories)

4 servings, 60 calories per serving.

Lexi's directions:

"The stock is from after you're done frying the meatballs, add water in the pan and let it simmer for a while and then keep it for the sauce. If you don't think it tastes enough add a square of meatbouillon (I try not to because of hte artificial flavourings). Melt the butter in a pot, mix in the flour and take the pot of the heat, add a bit of hte stock and mix until the butterflour mix is mixed in completely to the fluids. Add the rest of the stock and then put the pot back to the heat. Whisk until it starts to boil, and then let it simmer an thicken for atleast 3 minutes. If you want to add some soysauce for colouring and sealth taste yourself through it. Add the cream in the end."

Served with 1/2 cup cooked white rice (100 calories) and 1/2 cup frozen peas (35 calories).

Total meal: 483.5 calories per person.

Lexi served hers with mashed potatoes, but I was out of time and, to be honest, I don't particularly like mashed potatoes (it's a texture thing) so I went with quick and easy rice. I initially started with the same ratio of milk (cream) to meat, but it was turning out too soupy, so I poured out the majority of it.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Janet's Mustard Chicken by way of Kalyn

Janet's Mustard Chicken, by way of Kalyn.

Kalyn posted about this recipe a few days ago, and I began to drool, which usually means I should make the recipe. I meant to make it on Saturday, but I didn't have half the ingredients I needed, so I made it for dinner tonight.

I made one very small modification to get the sauce down to where it would be within my 500 calorie meal goal, and I mean very small - I cut out half of the mayo and replaced it with nonfat yogurt. The original recipe is for 8 chicken breasts with sauce, but I was only serving two, so I halved the sauce because I didn't know if quartering it would work.

2 medium skinless, boneless chicken breasts, 6.5 oz each (6 oz; 280 calories when cooked)
1 tsp. olive oil (40 calories)
salt and pepper

300 calories per chicken breast. (I realize this is a double-portion of meat per person, but we were in a meat mood!)

2 Tbsp. mayo (200 calories)
6 Tbsp. nonfat sour cream (45 calories)
6 Tbsp. lowfat plain yogurt (56 calories)
1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard (15 calories)
1/2 tsp. dry mustard ( calories)
1/4 tsp. ground ginger (1.5 calories)
3/4 c. chicken stock (11.25 calories)
2 tbsp. chopped parsley, 75% in sauce, the rest to garnish (2 calories)

2 servings, 165.5 calories per serving.

So, 1 chicken breast with 1/2 the sauce and 3/4 cup frozen peas with a little salt is 518 calories.

This chicken recipe is fantastic. My husband kept saying, "Mmmmmmm, any sauce left?" and I also went back for extra sauce. I guess this could have been lower calorie if we'd eaten the amount of sauce the origial recipe called for, which was about half of what we ended up eating, but it was JUST SO DAMNED GOOD - we ate every last drop. Definitely a keeper.

Gyoza (Pot Stickers)

At some point, my father-in-law lived in Taiwan. We joke that my husband was "made" in Taiwan, which is so un-pc, but back to the point. This recipe is a very slightly altered version of my father-in-law's, we add more ginger to the meat mixture and more vinegar to the dipping sauce. This has to be our favorite meal, there's just something about the ginger and vinegar sauce that work so well together.

Yes, I took a lot of pictures, and yes, I posted a lot of pictures, but I deleted a lot, too, so this is compromise.


1.5 pounds ground pork
2 heads napa cabbage, outer leaves removed and set aside for steaming
1 LARGE piece fresh ginger, grated fine, about 2 Tbsps.
1 bunch scallions, sliced thin
2 tsp. sesame oil
2 tsp. soy sauce
1 extra-large egg white
(2) 60 ct. packages round wonton wrappers

Chop cabbage fine, sprinkle with coarse salt, let sit for 20 minutes then squeeze out as much water as you can.

Combine all ingredients together in a large bowl.

Place 1 1/2 teapoons in the center of each pot sticker wrapper and use your finger to put water around the edge.

Fold wrapper in half, making sure to sqeeze out the air and seal/crimp the edges.

Set bamboo steamers (with lid on) on top of a large pot of boiling water, let sit for 5-10 minutes. Place a couple of cabbage leaves on each steamer and place your gyoza on top. Replace steamer baskets and lid, let steam for 8 minutes. Serve with Gyoza Sauce and Ham Fried Rice.

Makes 117 Gyoza, each is 30 calories. Serve 8-10 with Gyoza Sauce.

*We don't fry them in the pan to get a fried bottom, but you can if you want.
**If you want to freeze them, go ahead and steam them for the 8 minutes, and then let them cool. They freeze great!

Gyoza Sauce

1 c. soy sauce
1 c. white vinegar
1 Tbsp. sesame oil
1 HUGE clove garlic, pressed
1 scallion, sliced thin

Combine all ingredients. Take your gyoza for a swim.

Makes (8) 1/4 cup servings, 57.25 calories per serving.

I don't know why, but we drink Squirt soda with the gyoza. My husband says it's because it's similiar to a drink in Taiwan that they serve with them, but who knows? All I know is it works with the dumplings.

**edit - Riana from Garlic Breath has a great skin recipe here. I haven't attempted it, but I just might.

Ham Fried Rice

Now, I know that this is very, very basic, but since I had it with my dinner last night, I thought I'd post it. I didn't take a picture because, well because everyone knows what it looks like..

Ham Fried Rice

2 cups cooked white rice - (800 calories)
2 extra large eggs, scrambled - (170 calories)
1 cup peas - (70 calories)
8 oz cubed ham, browned - (321.5 calories)
1 tsp. sesame oil - (43.5 calories)
3 Tbsp. soy sauce - (30 calories)

Combine all ingredients in a frying pan on medium heat and cook for about 2 minutes.

Makes about about 9.5 servings, 153.75 calories per 3/4 cup serving.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Low Calorie Creamy Curry Chicken

A looooooooong time ago, my sister found a recipe for Curry Chicken in a magazine. We tried it and l.o.v.e.d. it, so much so that we're still making it today, but from memory. My sister uses butter to roast and saute the vegetables, and full-fat sour cream along with butter for the sauce, but this is the way I make it, now that I'm being calorie cautious. Tonight's version was a bit of a collaberation - we added far more curry powder and far more oyster sauce than we needed to, which then made it necessary to add way more sour cream, and also some plain yogurt, which we don't normally add, so it threw off the flavor quite a bit.

If you want to try this, I would go ahead and omit the yogurt, use half the sour cream, half the oyster sauce and half the curry powder. You can also omit the chicken for a fantastic vegetarian dish.

Low(er) Calorie Creamy Curry Chicken
3 medium Chicken breasts, 3/4 inch cubes - 710 calories
Celery, sliced (364g.) - 51.5 calories
8 large Carrots (646g.), 1/4 inch slices - 262.5 calories
1 large onion (342g.), sliced in 1/8 inch slices - 143.25 calories
6 big cloves of Garlic, pressed through press - 25 calories
Bamboo Shoots (8 oz can, drained) - 20 calories
Water Chestnuts (8 oz can, drained) - 50 calories
Mushrooms (13.25 oz can, drained) - 90 calories
Potatoes, cubed, skin on (919g.) - 642.5 calories
Sour Cream (2.25 containers)- 684 calories
Lowfat Yogurt, Plain (150g.) - 99.25 calories
Oyster (flavored) Sauce - 170 calories
2 Tbsp. Soy Sauce - 30 calories
Curry Powder (22g. jar, 3.5 Tbsp) - 70 calories
7 Tbsp. Olive Oil - 840 calories

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. On a large cookie sheet, toss carrots and potatoes with 2 tablespoons olive oil. Roast for 45-60 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender.

In a large pot, brown chicken in 1 tablespoon of olive oil, then remove. Add 2 tablespoons olive oil to the pan and sauté celery, onions, garlic, bamboo shoots, water chestnuts, and mushroms until the celery and onions are translucent, then remove from the pan. To the same pan, add the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil and the curry powder. Cook the curry powder in the oil for a minute, just to get rid of the grainy texture. Add the sour cream, oyster sauce, soy sauce, and salt and pepper to taste.

Combine toss the baked vegetables with the sauteed vegetables and chicken, then pour over the sauce and combine.


3888 calories total.

16 1-cup servings, 243 calories per serving. And no, I didn't keep it all, I sent half home with my sister, heh.

I eat two cups, but that's my whole meal, it would also be great over a 1/2 cup serving of rice, for a total of 443 calories. Yum!

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Another Calorie-Count Toolbar Update..

Ok, initially, I posted about the calorie-count toolbar, and how much I used and liked it. And theeeen I posted about how it had a ton of spyware.

This morning, I received a comment from Erik, the creator of the toolbar. Here's the back and forth:

At 8:48 PM, Erik said...
Hi Erin - it's Erik here, creator of and the toolbar!

Many apologies for the problems you encountered with our toolbar, however I would like to assure you the toolbar is indeed spyware and adware free...the Internet Explorer version often gets falsely identified by anti-spyware applications as spyware, as we have to interact with our servers to keep your "eat meter" updated (which looks supsicious).

I'd appreciate getting more information on your difficulties and I encourage you to contact me at We take our user's privacy and security very seriously!

Kind Regards,

Erik Fantasia

Hey there Erik,

As someone who is extremely cautious about what I install on my computer (my husband builds them for a living, and he's not one of those bunk computer builders, he's the smart, educated kind, lol), I went ahead and installed the calorie-count toolbar, which I loved, until a few days in, when my computer started freezing up and being generally non-responsive. My husband did everything imaginable to figure out what the problem was, and he said that it was the toolbar and spyware that was installed with it. He was unable to fully un-install the toolbar, or what the spyware programs were reading as spyware, from my computer. When we ran a virus scan, it got to the calorie-count toolbar thing and completely froze up. We had to reformat the computer just so it would stop freezing up. We reinstalled everything that was on the computer before, and it's running just as it was before I installed the toolbar.

I would really love to reinstall the toolbar, because I was using it regularly, but I've been warned it's a bad idea, so I haven't. I really do use your site every single day, and it's helped me to easily keep track of my calories, as well as learning about new things that are great for my calorie-conscience lifestyle.

If you have any suggestions, feel free to send them my way.


Hi Erin,

Once again my apologies for the problems you encountered...if you
to know which antivirus and anti-spyware programs you were using this
would be of help.

We also have a version of the toolbar for the popular free Firefox web
browser ( - this version has been tested by the
Mozilla community and in fact is available for download from their
addons site:

It's the one I use myself.

We are actually thinking of dropping the IE toolbar altogether as we
purchased the base code from a 3rd party and have been experiencing a
lot of trouble with it.

As a sign of thanks I've sent you a little Amazon gift certificate.
Once again my apologies for the trouble you encountered and many thanks
for your help making our site and services better for the future.

By the way, I love your blog - your food creations look fantastic! We
are currently working on a recipe database and analysis tool for which will provide full nutritional details for any
recipe entered which you might be interested in!




Thanks for taking the time out to help me with the toolbar issue, it means a lot. My husband has offered to have me put the toolbar installation file on his desktop for when he gets home, so he can have a real good look, though I think I'll actually just install Mozilla and use the toolbar there. THAT'S how much I like this toolbar, lol, I'll use a new browser just so I can have it. Also, thank you for the gift certificate, I buy 4-6 books a month through Amazon, so that was a very nice surprise.

For reference, the spyware and adware programs are Spybot, and Lavasoft Ad-Aware, and the virus scanner was this one: , which my husband swears by.

Thank you for the kind words about my journal, it's been a great experience and has made me quite a few foodie friends, as well. Also, thank you for the gift certificate, I buy 4-6 books a month, sometimes, through Amazon, so that was a very nice surprise.

Warm Regards,

So, I guess if you have Mozilla and want the toolbar, then you're good to go, but if you are a stone-ager (like me) and use good old IE, then you're SOL. I was serious, though, I've already installed the Mozilla browser, but I've not been a fan of tabbed browsing, so we'll have to see how that goes..

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Roasted Garlic Cauliflower

I've seen a lot of roasted cauliflower dishes, but this weekend, Kalyn posted about Roasted Broccoli with Garlic, so, since I already had a head of cauliflower in the fridge, I thought I'd switch it out and go for a similiar result.

Roasted Garlic Cauliflower

645g. cauliflower (1 medium head, cut into florets) (161.25 calories)
40 g. garlic (7-8 cloves, sliced in half and lightly smashed) (58 calories)
2 Tbsp. olive oil (240 calories)
1 Tbsp. fresh chopped parsley (1 calorie)
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper

Preheat oven to 425°F. In a small saucepan over medium heat, heat oil and red pepper flakes, add the garlic and gently fry for 1-2 minutes, making sure not to brown the garlic. Place cauliflower on a cookie sheet and pour the garlic and oil, salt, pepper, and 1/2 the parsley over the cauliflower and toss. Bake for 20 minutes, tossing halfway through, or until golden brown and tender.

Makes 6 servings, 76.75 calories per serving.

Swedish Meatballs with Rice: More Comfort Food

Swedish Meatballs is another one of those comfort foods from my childhood. It's the only food that I can remember my older brother actually cooking and not just microwaving, and it's one I've never cooked for my husband because I've been on a red meat hiatus for about... 8 years? I've never had Swedish Meatballs when they weren't made from this seasoning packet, but I can imagine a "real" recipe would taste incredible.

Swedish Meatballs with Rice

1 x McCormick Swedish Meatball Seasoning & Sauce Mix (270)

1 lb. lean ground beef (4% fat) (600 calories)
2 cups Skim Milk (180 calories)
2 tsps. Oil (80 calories)
1/3 c. water
1 cup rice (prepared makes 4 1/2 c. servings) (400 calories)

Prepare in a nonstick skillet, according to package directions, with modified oil amount. Serve with 1/2 cup. rice (100 calories).

Makes 4 servings, 382.5 calories per serving. If serving with Roasted Garlic Cauliflower, add 76.75 calories per serving.

Strawberries and Blueberries with Vodka and Vanilla

I make this whenever I can get my hands on good berries. I'm not sure why the berries are so great, right now, but I'm willing to overlook the seasonal thing.

Strawberries and Blueberries with Vodka and Vanilla

2 pints fresh strawberries, halved
1 pkg. fresh blueberries
2 vanilla beans, seeded
3 Tbsps. vanilla vodka (put 6-7 split vanilla beans in vodka and let sit for a few months)
2 Tbsps. Splenda

In a medium bowl, combine berries. Seed your vanilla beans and add to the vanilla vodka, cut the leftover beans in pieces and add to the berries. Toss berries with splenda, then drizzle the vodka over them. Let sit overnight for best flavor, but they're fantastic right away, too.

I'm not sure how many servings this makes, but 115g. (1 slighty over-filled cup) is about 39.75 calories.